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Quebra Cabeça

São Paulo's Bixiga 70 Announce Fourth Album

What a coincidence! So yesterday we walk by the Bixiga 70 poster in our office from their Berlin performance at YAAM in June, 2016. And we wonder if it wouldn't be about time for a new album. We visit their Twitter [...]

What a coincidence! So yesterday we walk by the Bixiga 70 poster in our office from their Berlin performance at YAAM in June, 2016. And we wonder if it wouldn't be about time for a new album. We visit their Twitter page, don't see any apparent news and move on to the next artist on our list. Then today, while browsing our timeline, we discover a post by Glitterbeat Records, announcing the collective's upcoming fourth album, to be released on October 12th! 

“From the very beginning, what we have always had in common is African-Brazilian music,” explains baritone sax player and flautist Cuca Ferreira. "Some of us come from candomblé (the African-Caribbean religion), others from jazz, reggae, dub, everything. The whole idea of the band has been to take all these different elements that form us, from Africa and Brazil, and create a hybrid from them.”

Since their 2015-released album "III", the acclaimed horns-driven ten-piece has been on the road, performing with established artists the likes of Pat Thomas, Orlando Julius or João Donato. These rich and new experiences have now made their way onto the group's forthcoming longplayer "Quebra Cabeça", which they claim is "more complex" and "different" than their previous arrangements.  

"Throughout though, the heartbeat of everything remains utterly African, refracted through the prism of the band’s home in the Bixiga neighbourhood of São Paulo. 'What we put on top of that is essentially urban São Paulo music,' Ferreira continues. 'This city has been a huge influence on us. It has that sense of urgency, always running to catch up. It’s expensive, and services are awful, with so much pollution and violence. But it’s our home and it was developed through immigration. Bixiga is where people come first of all. It’s always had that influx; it’s the story of São Paulo in miniature.'"

For now, we only got a preview of the album's title track, along with a trippy and somewhat sinister accompanying video, which you can see below. But through all the colourful complexity, Bixiga's vibrant, contemporary funk is still very much alive.

Bixiga 70 are
Chris Scabello - guitar 
Cuca Ferreira - baritone sax, flute 
Daniel Gralha - trumpet 
Décio 7 - drums 
Daniel Nogueira - tenor sax 
Douglas Antunes - trombone 
Marcelo Dworecki - bass 
Maurício Fleury - keyboards, guitar 
Rômulo Nardes - percussion

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Parallel Persia

Tehran-Based Sound Artist Sote Unveils Mind-Rattling New Album On Diagonal Records

Is this the past or is it the future? With Tehran-based electronic music composer Ata Ebtekar, aka Sote, it is hard to tell. Fact is, he has been honing his craft for three decades and counting, an explorer, a [...]

Is this the past or is it the future? With Tehran-based electronic music composer Ata Ebtekar, aka Sote, it is hard to tell. Fact is, he has been honing his craft for three decades and counting, an explorer, a scientist, a sound artist in an ever-changing sonic environment. He "composes music with a deeply-held conviction that rules and formulas should be deconstructed and rethought", as he "alters musical modal codes from their original tonality and rhythmic tradition to achieve vivid synthetic soundscapes." 

Sote's musical vision is acutely experimental in form, yet eerily organic in nature and constantly in motion. You might remember his CTM-commissioned album "Sacred Horror In Design" released on Opal Tapes in 2017, which had us wondering, what exactly we had just listened to. And trust us, his latest album is likely to keep you guessing, with musical surprises lurking at every twist, turn and flourish. Preceded by the standalone single Artificial Neutrality, Sote recently unveiled his mind-rattling new full-length on Oscar Powell's Diagonal Records, entitled "Parallel Persia".

Created in early 2018, "Parallel Persia" features an electro-acoustic "series of compositional structures", combining "various synthesis techniques with Iranian acoustic instruments [Arash Boulouri (santour) & Pouya Damadi (tar)] that are pushed beyond ordinary operation." Or in the words of Sote himself, these are "snapshots of an apocryphal Iran [...] presented via sonic schematics for a synthetic 'Meta-Persian' experience," an experience that could be taking place "in our present-day life or maybe somewhere else somehow differently in a parallel world..." We'll let you decide.

You can stream/buy "Parallel Persia" in full on Bandcamp and make sure to check out the magnificent visuals to album track "Brass Tacks" by Pedram Sadegh-Beyki below.

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Suphanburi Soul

Bangkok’s Zudrangma Records Presents Crucial Compilation Of Rarities By The First Lady Of Lae

All the way from Bangkok comes a fantastic new compilation, featuring a selection of rare and "crucial cuts" by Kwanjit Sripajan, aka "The First Lady of Lae Music". Lae is a vocal genre that is generally performed [...]

All the way from Bangkok comes a fantastic new compilation, featuring a selection of rare and "crucial cuts" by Kwanjit Sripajan, aka "The First Lady of Lae Music". Lae is a vocal genre that is generally performed at initiation ceremonies for monks and focusses on the teachings of Buddha as well as communicating traditional values and "exhorting listeners to a righteous life."

Born to a farming family in 1947 in the Suphanburi region of central Thailand, Kwanjit Sriprajan's road to music was a windy one, seeing as her father opposed her pursuing a career in music. It was actually her younger sister who received training in the plang puen baan tradition. But Kwanjit found ways to observe singing techniques and receive valuable tips along the way.

When she heard of a competition taking place on a Bangkok radio station in 1966, she managed to participate and actually won, providing her with an opportunity to perform and record with a local band, which led to her connecting with key producers from the era (Jiew Pijit and Porn Pirom). 

"Recognising her talent and unique vocal delivery, [Porn Pirom] arranged a series of recordings for [Kwanjit] to perform on. He assembled a band of different players from military and police groups, who created an uneven mix of traditional arrangements coupled with elements of R&B and latin percussion. Such flourishes were not so surprising for luk thung, but less common for lae, which tended to be played on Thai percussion and wind instruments."

These recording sessions were eventually released on an LP ("Sin Haa") as well as four EPs and although "they weren't big hits commercially, they were hugely popular with the religious community" and "spread her notoriety as a performer and artist." Kwanjit continued to perform with different groups and self-release her music, until she became pregnant in 1973 and returned to Suphanburi, where today "she runs a centre from her house for anyone who wishes to come and learn about the music and culture for themselves."

"Suphanburi Soul: Kwanjit Sriprajan - The First Lady Of Lae Music" introduces listeners to eleven tracks from her storied career, compiled by Nattapon Siangsukon, aka Maft Sai, and Chris Menist of Paradise Bangkok.  

You can stream/buy the full release via the Bandcamp page of Thai record store and label Zudrangma Records and watch her perform live at the Paradise Bangkok fifth anniversary party in 2014 below.

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Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman

A-WA Drop Thought-Provoking Precursor To Forthcoming Second Full-Length

We first covered the Yemenite sisters back in 2016, when they teamed up with Loco Hot on APE Records. That was after they released their breakout single "Habib Galbi" (which has so far amassed over 12 million views [...]

We first covered the Yemenite sisters back in 2016, when they teamed up with Loco Hot on APE Records. That was after they released their breakout single "Habib Galbi" (which has so far amassed over 12 million views on YouTube) and followed that up with their eponymous debut album. Blending traditional Yemenite folk with urban beats and electronic soundscapes, Tair, Liron and Tagel Haim have made quite a name for themselves across the globe, as they confidently continue to propagate their role as strong and modern women in the rather conservative Middle East. 

Just recently A-WA released their new single "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman", based on the real-life experience of their great-grandmother, who fled her home in Yemen in 1949 during what is today known as "Operation Magic Carpet" and immigrated to Israel to escape persecution and violence. However, upon arrival in Israel, said Yemenite Jews were placed in camps and regularly discriminated against. The lyrics of "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman" reflect these early tensions and struggles:

"Where will I stake a home? (You have a tent for now) / Or at least a small shack (along with four other families) / And here I will raise a family (Don't let them take your daughter) / I'll find myself a job with an income (either in cleaning or working the earth) / And I will learn the language (Lose the accent) / With time I'll feel like I belong (Here is not Yemen)."

Reminiscent of the song "America" from the musical "West Side Story", the catchy single is led by the sisters' melodic chants, while driven by intricate rhythms and a beat produced by Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box) that is clearly purposed for the dancefloor. The companion music video, which you can watch below, was shot in the streets of Tel Aviv and directed in collaboration Omer Ben-David. It features an array of powerful dance moves as well as a modern take on popular looks of the time. 

After "Mudbira" (unveiled earlier this year), "Hana Mash Hu Al Yaman" is the second promising precursor to A-WA's forthcoming full-length "Bayti Fi Rasi" (transl. My House Is My Head), to be released on May 31st (S-Curve/BMG). Preceding the album release the siblings will be on tour in Germany (see below). Check here for more dates. 

May 23rd Leipzig, Werk 2
May 24th Hannover, World Music Festival
May 25th Berlin, Gretchen Club

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Terrouzi

Mauritania's Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla Releases Extremely Limited Edition Tour Cassette

After two weeks in Turkey, our hearts bleed Arabesque. So it may not come as surprise that we have developed somewhat of a soft spot for songs in a minor key and melodies dealing with unfulfilled love and the likes. [...]

After two weeks in Turkey, our hearts bleed Arabesque. So it may not come as surprise that we have developed somewhat of a soft spot for songs in a minor key and melodies dealing with unfulfilled love and the likes. Under any other circumstances we most likely would have filed away Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla's instrumental electronic keyboard flourishes as 'kitch'. But that would have been a mistake. 

Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla is one of the Saharan country's biggest stars. Born into a musical family (his father being a renowned tidnit [four-stringed lute] player) he is today considered one of Mauritania's premiere keyboard performers, whose music can be heard "blaring from taxi caps and cassette shops across the country". As a regular at lavish weddings in the capital city of Nouakchott, Ahmedou Ahmed Lowla made a name for himself with his indubitable energy and "evocative theatrics, accentuating notes by playing with his elbows, or tapping the keyboard with his head".

On "Terrouzi" he combines classical Mauritatian music, aka WZN, with an abundance of outernational styles as he presents a future vision of the sounds he grew up with, from "90s slow jam R&B, to bass-heavy boom bap and minimal trap, [...] hypnotic and tranced out". There would seem to be no method to his musical madness, which makes his plastic sounds all the more intriguing and no doubt engaging. Head over to Bandcamp for the extremely limited cassette accompanying his recent tour of Europe, organised by Planet Rock. And for more insights, head over to Sahel Sounds

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Echoes Of Japan

The Minyo Crusaders Combine Traditional Japanese Folk Songs With A Plethora Of Global Styles

Well here's for a little something off the beaten path. All the way from Japan comes this big band that is quite unlike anything we've ever heard. The Minyo Crusaders just recently released their debut album on UK [...]

Well here's for a little something off the beaten path. All the way from Japan comes this big band that is quite unlike anything we've ever heard. The Minyo Crusaders just recently released their debut album on UK imprint Mais Um and we highly recommend you give it a listen. Led by guitarist Katsumi Tanaka, the 10-piece successfully reworks Japanese folk songs, also known as min'yō, with Latin, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms, from cumbia, to Ethiopian jazz, Thai pop, Afro funk and reggae.

As Tanaka puts it, "for Japanese people, min'yō is both the closest and most distant folk music. We may not feel it in our daily urban lives, yet the melodies, the style of singing and the rhythm of the taiko drums are engrained in our DNA.” In the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, he began researching Japanese roots music and was drawn to mid-late 20th century acts the likes of Hibari Misora, Chiemi Eri and the Tokyo Cuban Boys. "I was captivated by their eccentric arrangements and how they mixed min'yō with Latin and jazz,” he recounts. Min'yō was originally sung by fishermen (Kushimoto Bushi; Mamurogawa Ondo), coal miners (Tanko Bushi) and sumo wrestlers (Sumo Jinku), dealing with topics of a now forgotten Japan.“As a traditional performing art, min'yō is considered highbrow, yet these are mainly songs for working, dancing or drinking - we want to return them to their literal meaning as ‘songs of the people’,” he adds.

Intending to revive this style and combine it with world music, Tanaka decided to form a band and slowly but surely the Minyo Crusaders came into being. Their debut effort "Echoes of Japan" is out now. It is about "bringing 'highbrow' min'yō back to it's 'lowlife' roots" as well as to the global stage for it to be heard by a wider public and most importantly "everyday people". And one thing is for sure: You've got to hear this! 

Minyo Crusaders are:
Freddie Tsukamoto (vocals) 
Meg (vocals, melodica)
Katsumi Tanaka (guitar)
DADDY U (bass)
Moe (keyboards)
Sono (timbales)
Mutsumi Kobayashi (bongos)
Yamauchi Stephan (trumpet)
Koichiro Osawa (sax)
Irochi (congas)

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Strange Heat

Berlin/Potsdam-based Nine-Piece Wanubalé Releases Blazing Two-Tracker On Agogo Records

Hailing from Berlin/Postdam, the young nine-piece collective Wanubalé (Swahili for "Brothers") just released its debut EP "Strange Heat" on Agogo Records and is now set to perform live in Berlin tomorrow (Thursday [...]

Hailing from Berlin/Postdam, the young nine-piece collective Wanubalé (Swahili for "Brothers") just released its debut EP "Strange Heat" on Agogo Records and is now set to perform live in Berlin tomorrow (Thursday May 9th, 2019) at XJAZZ

Drawing inspiration from jazz and club culture, Wanubalé bring an amazing energy to the stage, as they meld jazz, neo soul, funk and electronic influences into a cohesive and absolutely ecstatic whole. With all nine members in their early twenties, some fresh out of high school, you might be prone to expect less, but don't be fooled. They are great musicians and more than able to flip the switch in an instant. Their carefully structured arrangements are intricate, but hardly boastful, while each and every track is a team effort. 

You might find yourself reminded of acts the likes of Snarky Puppy, Fat Freddy's Drop, Hiatus Kaiyote or Nubiyan Twist, but at the end of the day, Wanubalé are all about doing their own instrumental thing, without relying on vocals. With an album in the making, the brand new two-track EP "Strange Heat" is a testament to their ability and a serious groover that you can stream/buy on Bandcamp. Watch the studio session to a previous track called "Something Green" below, which was recorded at the Jazz Institut Berlin studios back in 2017. 

You can also catch Wanubalé live at Gretchen in Berlin for Fête de la Musique on June 21st. 

Wanubalé are
Gabriel Rosenbach (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Niko Zeidler (tenor/alto saxophone, flute)
Anton Kowalski (bari saxophone)
Jonathan Steffen (trombone)
Max Feig (guitar)
Moses Yoofee Vester (keys)
Moritz Schmolke (bass)
Heinrich Eiszmann (drums)
Philip Schilz (drums) 

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Szolnok

Daniel Weltlinger’s New Album Tells A Story About A Violin, A Story For The Ages

Yesterday marked release day for Australian-born and Berlin-based violinist Daniel Weltlinger and his brand new album. On “Szolnok” Daniel tells the amazing and true story of his grandfather’s violin, on his [...]

Yesterday marked release day for Australian-born and Berlin-based violinist Daniel Weltlinger and his brand new album. On “Szolnok” Daniel tells the amazing and true story of his grandfather’s violin, on his grandfather’s violin. Playing that same instrument from the eponymous Hungarian town (a name written on the label inside the violin itself), which his grandfather, Zoltan Fyszman, carried with him to the far reaches of the globe through the turmoil of world history, Daniel now embarks on a musical journey through time and across the continents:

“First from Hungary on foot to France between 1920-1922, then across Morocco and to Australia, where he died in 1998 as ‘Zoltan Fishman’ at the age of 96. Until the very end he was still playing his violin. His grandson [Daniel] inherited the violin from him, and brought it back to Europe on October the 11th, 2017. Two days later he inadvertently performed the German national anthem on the violin together with a Turkish ensemble at Schloss Bellevue as part of a concert for the Federal President.”

The album can be seen as a timeline, beginning from the instrument’s origins in Szolnok up to the present day in Berlin, where the violin now resides. Composed mainly of original material, “Szolnok” blends jazz, classical, folk and improvised music, as Daniel is accompanied by his quartet, namely Uri Gincel on piano, Mathias Ruppnig on drums and Paul Kleber on bass. "My reasoning for choosing Uri, Mathias and Paul to create this quartet has to do with their truly open sense of sound, which to me is when musicians can play outside of a conventional style of music and have the creative freedom to do whatever they hear and want in the moment that fits, which is exactly what these guys are capable of.”

For Daniel, the dream of starting a jazz quartet under his own name in Europe to record and perform his original music and ideas had been a long time coming. It just so happened that said violin and one of his grandfather’s old set lists provided the proverbial spark and the musical story began to take shape in Daniel’s mind.

A 2017 workshop with renowned Indian violinist L. Subramaniam inspired the pizzicato album opener, reminiscent of an old clock. Track two, “Ernő”, is dedicated to his grandfather’s brother, who fell victim to the Spanish flu in 2018. “1921” is a jazzy track with a dark and brooding Hungarian-Romanian bass line and eerie violin tremoli, alluding to his grandfather’s passage from Hungary to France. French chansonist Henri Alibert’s “Bonjour, Bonsoir, Adieu Marseille” represents Zoltan’s time in the south of France, working in café orchestras. Anna Marly’s magical “Le chant des partisans” and Weltlinger’s “North Africa” reference Zoltan’s escape to the African continent, where he settled in Casablanca after the war and met his future wife, whom he serenaded with the "Barcarolle" from Jacques Offenbach’s “Hoffmann’s Tales”. “Mr. Fishman” then is dedicated to Zoltan’s time in Australia, his “twilight years”, and incorporates field recordings of birds and insects, followed by “La Famille” and “Tranquille à Sydney”; peace at last. Finally, “2018” embodies the philosophy behind this album of “time, survival and continuity”, as it slowly leads listeners to Berlin, where the album concludes with Manuel María Ponce’s “Estrellita”, which we unveiled a few weeks back.

“My grandfather loved to serenade people – often with a bottle of Slivovitz, Pernod or Johnny Walker Black close at hand – and his style of playing was heavily influenced by the café orchestras he had worked in as a semi professional musician in France […]. I grew up totally entranced by both him and his violin playing, his smile and that twinkle in his eyes whenever he played is something that remains in my heart forever. He had two violins: the violin from Szolnok that had been his brother’s, as well as a Bohemian violin that my mother bought for him at an auction many years before. These violins were his babies. After he passed away in 1998 I inherited both his violins, but chose to play the Bohemian violin as I actually preferred it out of the two instruments as it has a sweeter tone and is easier to play as opposed to the dark somber tone of the violin from Szolnok. The violin from Szolnok remained in its case with the same strings on it for almost 20 years, before I took it to Europe with me in October 2017,” Daniel recounts.

Szolnok” releases today on DMG Germany/Rectify Records and is a truly remarkable story about moving forward, brought to life by Daniel and his quartet. The Daniel Weltlinger Quartet will be on tour in Germany this May. 

Tour dates:
May 3rd/4th Lindenberg, Dorfkirche
May 8th Berlin, Wabe
May 12th Oderau, Theater am Rand
May 15th Worms, Synagogue
May 16th Koblenz, Kulturfabrik
May 17th Lollar, Studio Kirchberg
May 18th Eltville, Die Salongesellschaft
May 19th Lauenau, Kesselhaus
June 6th Berlin, Zig Zag Jazz Club

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Shik Shak Shok

A 24/7 Webradio Reconnecting Us With The Golden Age Of Arab Music
 

Moving right along, we bring you yet another great initiative from the Mediterranean Basin, aka Shik Shak Shok, a webradio or rather "the first online radio dedicated to fostering golden age of Arab music." Shik [...]

Moving right along, we bring you yet another great initiative from the Mediterranean Basin, aka Shik Shak Shok, a webradio or rather "the first online radio dedicated to fostering golden age of Arab music." Shik Shak Shok is the brainchild of Lebanese-born/Paris-based producer Hadi Zeidan and features an eclectic 24/7 live mix of Arab grooves, including jazz, funk, disco, tarab and of course bellydance. 

Founded in 2018, Shik Shak Shok has also accumulated several worthwhile guest mixes or #ShikTakeovers over the past months by the likes of Khan El Rouh, Dar Disku, Cheb Gero, Disco Arabesquo, Victor Kiswell, Fortuna Records and Toukadime, which you can listen to via SoundCloud. We've decided to feature the latest mix by Rouen-based radio Toukadime, which has been doing a phenomenal job of representing the Maghreb musical heritage in its own right.

You can listen to Toukadime's mix via the SoundCloud player above. Or just head over to WeAreShik.com for a heavy dose of Arabic and neo-Arabic grooves. We're loving it!

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Zamaan Ya Sukkar

Belgium's Radio Martiko Unearth Egyptian Crossover Sounds From The 1960s
 

Belgium's Radio Martiko, reissue label, DJ collective and provider of "global eclectic supersounds", has been on our radar ever since we started this 'greedy' little platform of ours back in 2015 and we already had [...]

Belgium's Radio Martiko, reissue label, DJ collective and provider of "global eclectic supersounds", has been on our radar ever since we started this 'greedy' little platform of ours back in 2015 and we already had the pleasure to share their fabulous 2016-released all-vinyl mixes of hard-to-find Turkish treats and rump-shaking Egyptian rarities. Needless to say, even though the Ghent-based collective has been anything but idle, we haven't reported on them in a while. Last week, while reading up on Egyptian legend Oum Kalthoum/Om Kalsoum, aka "The Rose of the Nile", we chanced upon their 2018-released vinyl/download compilation "Zaaman Ya Sukkar" and felt the strong urge to share, so here goes. 

Radio Martiko have spent the past five years travelling back and forth to Cairo, digging for records. Obviously, the material collected set the tone for this fantastic compilation of Egyptian music from the 60s, featuring remastered original 45s produced by state-run label Sono Cairo and "some forgotten souls of the Egyptian music scene and cinema world." The glamorous and uplifting selection is exotic in many ways. Of course, from a Western point of view, the term 'exotic' relates to music from faraway places, i.e. Oceania, Asia, Africa, Latin America or, last but not least, the Orient. Places that "provided a way for the listeners to wander off to an imaginary paradise and escape from their grey, daily routine."

What we in the West or Central Europe sometimes fail to realise is that for those faraway places mentioned above, the musical West often provided the same type of escape and "you can find examples of composers who approached music in a similar way as their Western counterparts. They created their own imaginary paradise by adopting musical influences from other cultures." Such are the musical crossover examples unearthed by Radio Martiko on "Zaaman Ya Sukkar". "What makes it interesting is that the Egyptian interpretations of the music from other ‘exotic’ countries are very similar in sound, then again very far from the musical traditions of the original country." We absolutely love this selection, but you best listen for yourselves.

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Ofel

Tel Aviv's Hoodna Orchestra Ready Ethiojazzy Studio Album #2

Widely heralded as one Israel's best live bands, Tel Aviv's Hoodna Orchestra is a musical force to be reckoned with. Last Friday, the brassy collective, composed of 11-14 members, officially released its second [...]

Widely heralded as one Israel's best live bands, Tel Aviv's Hoodna Orchestra is a musical force to be reckoned with. Last Friday, the brassy collective, composed of 11-14 members, officially released its second studio album "Ofel" on trusted German imprint Agogo Records and we are absolutely, positively dazed. The album was recorded live in the group's self-built home studio with guitarist and composer Ilan Smilan in charge of the entire production (recording, mixing and mastering). 

Established in 2012, the group has meanwhile become an integral part of the Tel Aviv groove scene. Early on, they focussed mainly on elements from afrobeat and afrofunk, while fusing different musical styles and developing a wall of sound that speaks for itself. Following the release of their 2015 debut album "Let Go", the orchestra went on to launch a new show entitled "The Ethiobeat Orchestra" and ventured even deeper into the "study of East African music and the rich culture of Ethiopian music in particular". Then, in 2017, they dropped their 7" single "Yelben (featuring Tesfaye Negatu)", the "first in a series of collaborations with Ethiopian singers and musicians", and subsequently released "Alem", a collab with singer/poet Demisu Belete. 

"Ofel", meaning darkness in Hebrew, "is a concept album that includes nine instrumental pieces written and arranged by Ilan Smilan," one of which happens to be a brilliant cover of Prodigy's "Breathe". The album further explores the potent combination of African/Ethiopian music, afrobeat and ethiojazz with nuances of rock, funk and Israeli/Mediterranean music. The orchestra expertly employs Ethiopian minor scales, i.e. Anchihoye "associated with religious singing" or "songs of war" and Tezeta, "used to express wishes, dreams and feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality". That and the method of recording on analog equipment makes for an ominously intense atmosphere that will engage listeners from start to finish. Head over to Bandcamp for the full experience and/or check out the video to title track "Ofel" below. 

Hoodna Orchestra are
Elad Gelert (baritone saxophone) 
Rom Shani (alto saxophone) 
Eylon Tushiner (tenor saxophone) 
Uri Selinger (trombone) 
Asaf Oseasohn (trumpet) 
Sefi Zisling (trumpet)
Arthur Krasnobaev (trumpet)
Tomer Zuk  (keyboards)
Amir Sadot (bass guitar) 
Ilan Smilan (electric guitar) 
Matan Asayag (drums) 
Rani Birenbaum (percussion) 
Shahar Ber (percussion) 
Raz Eytan (percussion) 

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Mosawi Swiri

Essaouira's Maalem Houssam Gania Releases Entrancing 6-Track Gnawa Album On Hive Mind
 

Back in 2017 Brighton's Hive Mind Records posthumously released an 8-track album of studio recordings by the late and great Maalem Mahmoud Gania, master singer and guimbri player. Now following in his footsteps, [...]

Back in 2017 Brighton's Hive Mind Records posthumously released an 8-track album of studio recordings by the late and great Maalem Mahmoud Gania, master singer and guimbri player. Now following in his footsteps, 23-year-old Houssam Gania is set to continue his father's legacy and recently released his own 6-track album on the UK imprint.

"Mosawi Swiri" features indigenous sounds from the "Gnawa ceremonial repertoire", including "a number of songs from the Musawiyin Suite, the blue section of the trance ritual durch which they invoke Sidi Musa, the master of the spirits of sea and sky." Accompanied by his brother Hamza Gania, Mohamed Benzaid, Khalid Charbadou and Amine Bassi (on qraqabs), Maalem Houssam Gania plucks his guimbri and contributes his "earthy vocals" to the insitent, recurring grooves. 

This album is somewhat of a beautiful understatement, that doesn't force itself on listeners but rather invites them to revel in its undeniable glow as it slowly unfolds its charm. Head over to Bandcamp to buy/stream "Mosawi Swiri" in full, which is also available on cassette in a very limited edition of 100. If you are looking to hear more from Maalem Houssam Gania, you may also want to check out his 2018 collaboration with UK electronic music producer James Holden in the SoundCloud player above.

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Ploaia

Romanian Artist Cosima Releases Captivating 7" On Pingipung/Future Nuggets

Last Friday, German leftfield record label Pingipung teamed up with Romanian imprint Future Nuggets to present a hot new 7" release by Bucharest-based artist Cosima Opârtan, or simply Cosima, aka one half of [...]

Last Friday, German leftfield record label Pingipung teamed up with Romanian imprint Future Nuggets to present a hot new 7" release by Bucharest-based artist Cosima Opârtan, or simply Cosima, aka one half of proto-manele duo Raze de Soare.

Cosima – a trained architect, sound designer and co-founder of Queer Night (a local LGBTQ+ party series) – dubs her music widow pop, a melancholy blend of contemporary styles beckoning both to the past and the future, as if addressing a distant memory or a beloved person, who is beyond reach. Her voice has an ethereal yet unwavering quality and her music has thoroughly cast a spell on us. 

Lead-single "Ploaia" (Rain) features a catchy beat composed of steel-drums, a menacing bassline and what might be a sitar to accompany Cosima's siren call. "Ploaia" is definitely our favourite of the two tracks, which you can listen to in the clip below. On the flipside is a song called "Mai e și altfel de-a iubi" (There is another way to love), which is more of an electronic pop ballad but also strangely appealing. You can buy/stream the full release on Bandcamp.

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